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Monday, June 27, 2011


Monday, June 27, 2011
Today was an interesting day.  I have been recovering from a lovely BBQ over the weekend and I must admit have been tired today.  Why does it always seem when you are tired or not feeling well everything hits you at once?  It was slow going for me in the morning but when I got to work I had no time to feel tired.  I had some many requests from so many different people.  I have requests in email, IM, phone calls, conference calls, outstanding items, follow-up items, deliverables assigned to me and others I'm overseeing.  I'm HUGE on prioritization but it got to the point that I didn't even know what to prioritize because everything was URGENT.  

I'm sure we've all felt this way before whether at work or in our personal life but it's hard to prioritize the unknown.  It's also hard sometimes to not show that you are overwhelmed.  So you might ask, "What did you do?"  I did what most people would do, PANIC.  However, I came to the realization, and very quickly I might add, that the things that are coming at you are out of your control.  There are so many hours in the day and the more anxiety or frustration you have the less energy you have to dispense on what you should be truly focusing on.

I can sit here and tell you that though I have been doing this type of work for 15 years that I am use to handling any situation that comes my way but I would be lying to you if I said because I don't know what situation will present itself to me every day.  What I can say though is that I am human and as a human we have emotions and make mistakes and sometimes my emotions overtake logical thinking.  There are a lot of things that can account for you handling situations differently.  Depending on your environment and what is going on in that environment at that time can cause you to handle a situation, that you would be normally rational about, irrationally.  How you feel physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually can affect how you handle those situations.  I see this daily.  Even if you do act irrationally you can still make it right because face it we all have these days.  

What I have learned over the years is that when you feel overwhelmed do the following:

1.     Take a deep breath - it's amazing what this can do for you.
2.     Walk away from what you are working on. 
3.     Consult with a peer and get another perspective on how you are feeling; because I can guarantee you, we have all felt this way at one point or another.
4.     Sit down and list out everything you need to get done and prioritize it.  Ask for help if you find that the list is more than you can accomplish.
5.     Realize that your priority list can change on a whim. Anything can happen at any given time that you are not expecting, so be flexible.

What I have learned if you act irrationally before you can do the above 5 steps:

1.     Calm down and figure out what made you act irrationally and how you won't let it happen in the future.  Learn from your mistake so don't your repeat it. Self-introspection is key because you may not have control over others but you do have control over yourself.
2.     If you have offended anyone, APOLOGIZE.  Make sure to get it right because having good relationships is what makes you successful as a BA.  Be humble and admit you are wrong.
3.     Ask for help.  If you have more on you than you can handle ask for help.  Talk to your manager/supervisor and see if some of your work can be delegated.  Don’t take the whole world on your shoulders.
4.     Prioritize what you have to do and ensure you have a game plan to achieve it.

Trust me; I'm taking my own advice right now.  It's hard when you are overwhelmed and stressed but there are things you can do to alleviate those feelings.  I'm here to tell this is not the last time you will feel this way.  Don’t let the situation define your reaction but your reaction define the situation.  The better you act the better you can handle the situation.
To my fellow business analysts who are feeling this way stay encouraged and to those who are not business analysts but are following this blog in support of me I say, thank you, and take from this what you can to apply to your personal life.

Talk to you soon!

Paula Bell

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